Whether you count the “official” start of spring as the first pitch of MLB’s spring training season or the vernal equinox, there is one thing for certain: by mid-February, you’re probably starting to count down the days until it arrives. You’re ready for buds on trees, longer days, and warmer temperatures.
If there’s a high school senior in the house, you’re also impatiently waiting for the last set of college decisions to be released. Many of them will arrive in March and then the true flurry of anxious activity will set in as your student mulls her options and makes her choice.
For soon-to-be college students with food allergies, the final selection requires a bit more due diligence than their non-allergic peers. She’s not only looking for the right environment, the right academic rigor, and the right price tag, she’s also seeking a place where she can easily manage her dietary needs.
Visit in Person
COVID-19 presented a unique challenge for prospective college students: many campuses were not offering in-person tours. Selecting a college sight unseen can be difficult for anyone, but for a food-allergic student it can make it even harder to determine whether food allergy management verbiage accurately reflects food allergy management practice. As things have begun to open up and campuses are more accessible to prospective students, take the time to visit the schools your student is considering in-person. Meet with staff in disabilities services and food services. Ask if you can have a meal while you’re there so you can see how allergies are handled.
Yes, as a parent it can be daunting to hand over the responsibility of managing life-threatening food allergies, but at this stage, it’s important to allow your older teen to take the lead in discussions with their potential college. Keep in mind that most students enter college at 18 years old. The few that begin their college career as minors typically turn 18 early in the first semester. Why is this important? Legally, your child will be an adult and college administrators will look to deal directly with him on almost everything related to his tenure there.